Congratulations. I haven't cried reading a fic in a very, very long time. You broke my streak.
There is no way to describe your writing style except stunning. Its flow is absolutely breathtaking. I never paused to think that I was reading a story, I was only absorbed into the world. Not even JK Rowling does that to me (it's the truth). It felt like poetry.
I'm a particularly big fan of interesting structure, and the way you managed to make 2nd person work to your advantage is nothing short of remarkable. It really added to the feeling of the story. I also loved, loved, loved the parallel scenes. It's one of my favourite styles of writing.
"You let him pass, and he storms off, ready to fight a war so that he might live to turn eighteen." I'm not sure why, but this line struck me as so beautiful while I was reading. It's just so... simply and gracefully written, and there is so much truth in that one statement. ... yeah. I have nothing else to say, except please, please keep on writing, and I look forward to seeing your next story!
Author's Response: Aw, I always feel sort of guilty when I make someone cry with my stories, but I suppose when writing angst it is the ultimate achievement. So I'm very, very flattered, by the tears and by everything you have said. I am so very proud of this story and I am glad you enjoyed it so much. And, yes, of course, I will continue to write. I could sooner stop breathing than I could stop writing.
Here is the very first review of our holiday Ravenclaw Review Circle!
Oh, when I first saw this story, I knew it was destined for great things! But honestly, what probably perked my attention the most was seeing that Lisa Turpin was playing a part in it, as she is a Ravenclaw and a staring character in one of my own stories, even though we clearly don't imagine her as the same person, she still felt perfectly in character to me.
Little Theodore seems treated to that special kind of Chante' angst that graces your stories. The characters you seem to love the most always get the most to deal with in terms of troubles. I know this is just your way, but it is a way of me know that little Theodore is one of your favorites, and you had to find a way to redeem the House of Slytherin somehow.
And this story helps to do that wonderfully.
The characters of Lisa and Theodore's mother were wonderful. Adding those single small pieces of happiness in his life, just to have them taken away by the same man, made me cry! And having them waiting for him in the afterlife, that just made it worse! I HATE stories that make me cry, and yet I continue to read everything you ever post.
That must be a sign of some serious talent on your part!
Merry Christmas, and remember to pay it forward when it comes your turn to post a review in the Ravenclaw Holiday Review Circle!
Author's Response: Oh, Molly, you never do cease to flatter me with your praise, do you? I think you should start worrying about me getting a big head. I haven't read your story about Lisa Turpin yet, but I really should. I've never really had much interest in her, until I went searching for a love interest in this story. And I always do love Slytherin/Ravenclaw pairings. They rival my love for Slyth/Gryff. And aw, how cute. I never realized I had my own special kind of angst. That does make me feel quite special. My characters deal with the most, I suppose, because it's how I relate with them the best. I don't think I could relate much to someone who has always had a perfect life. Well, that's one theory. I think I also do love angst. There is nothing so sweet as sadness as it is the most truest form of emotion, without which happiness and all other emotions have no meaning. (okay, okay, enough of my sentimental rubbish). And you know me, I do love redeeming the House of Slytherin. Who better to do it with than Theodore? Yes, you had to know that this story wasn't going to end well with Theodore, but you also had to know I wouldn't end a story without some measure of hope and joy--like Theodore finding the joy in his afterlife that he could never have in life. And aw, I really shouldn't make you cry, but I do it too often don't I. I don't know why you continue to stick with my stories that will only continue to make you cry (maybe you're a masochist). lol Thank you much and Merry Christmas to you!
This was wonderful! You took a fairly minor, unimpressive character and gave him an entirely convincing, heart-warming backstory and life. Very nice. :]
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I do love Theodore and I'm glad you liked my portrayal of him.
Very impressive! A story I could read over and over again and never get tired of it. You have a gift with words. If you haven't yet, I think you should think about writing a story of your own creation and publish it.
Author's Response: I actually have thought about it. I began writing OF and I still write it. That's the goal, to one day be published. I only hope and pray I'll make it there one day. I'm flattered that you think I could though. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Oh! I realised one thing that jolted me out of a sound sleep in its intensity.
“This is what you plan to do, Evelyn?” he asks, his voice vicious. “Stun me and leave with my son.”
Your father begins to climb to his feet, but your spell is quick. “Stupefy!”
This parallel is just...ahhhhhhh! Made of win! Theo's mother thought that she could just stun Theodore Sr. and leave, and Theo thought that he could just Stun him and leave. Neither succeeded. Wow, that is a wonderful little nugget to plant in there. :D
I'm tired and probably not making any sense, so I'll just shut up now. *Iugs*
Oh, I do so adore fics that give a life and a story to characters that slip through the cracks. There are few characters that are more on a nonentity in Harry’s Hogwarts class than Theo Nott and Lisa Turpin. Now, I’ve always had my own ideas about them, but for the moment, I’m going to focus on this brilliant little world that you’ve created for the two of them.
I get Theo. I don’t mean that I see him and understand what he’s like; I truly can commiserate with the sort of person he was during school. I suppose that’s why your characterisation of him is so powerful to me, for he holds the power of nothing. The fact that he is so very unapologetically so is just so striking. It’s a brave move to make your protagonist someone that one shouldn’t notice and/or care about, but you did and it was brilliant.
One thing that was odd was the sequence through which you flashed back in his life. However, the order of the memories had to be the way they were for the ending not to be all…’yeah, I knew that was coming’. Hmm…that made more sense in my head. I guess what I mean is that generally, non-chronological flashbacks are generally a no-no, but in this case, it was perfect. Okay, that is more what I meant to say, lol.
Lisa. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. I liked that she was nerdy and extremely average-looking. She instantly became every boy’s first real crush, that nerdy girl that loved chess club too much. She wasn’t the brave, fiery Gryffindor girl who spat in the face of anyone who wore green and silver; she was quiet and unassuming, not unlike Theo. It is these qualities that make her such a rich and valuable character for your story and the way it plays out. You took naught but a name and gave her an identity, and that is so fantastic how you did it.
Theodore Sr…man, what a bastard. I truly hated the man from the first couple of paragraphs. I wanted him to die a horrible death, because I knew he had something to do with how damaged Theo was. To think that you could elicit such a reaction from me—and I don’t get that way often—speaks of the level of care and precision that you must have taken while writing this story. His sheer evil and selfishness toward is own end just made him the perfect villain. Voldemort is what he is, and everyone knows that. He hides nothing. But Theodore…he is the true face of what evil means, couching his own agenda in his supposed fatherly love and care. For that, he may rot in hell with Bellatrix and Milli Vanilli. I hope that in your personal canon for this story, someone eventually shot him in the face with a Blasting Curse or something vile.
And last but not least, Evelyn. Nothing on this planet surpasses the amount of love she held for her precious little boy. I had a feeling that the subtle questions throughout the story were from her, and I was pleased to see that I was right. Had it been his ‘conscience’, it might have ruined the potency of the story, but you did beautifully. So very much so. She wasn’t some spineless pushover, even though she tried to be one for Theo’s sake, but in the end, she knew that Theo needed her to be strong and take him away. The fact that she didn’t succeed doesn’t lessen this, either. In fact, it strengthens it.
In the end, though, I think Theo learnt to be strong from his mother. He knew that Voldy was going to kill him, and he didn’t care. He didn’t beg for his life like Draco would have done, and he didn’t give the Dark Lord the satisfaction of his pain. He put on his best ‘screw you’ face and let them do their worst. And for that, you’ve just made him one of my most favourite characters in fan fiction.
Plodding along, I shall address one more thing. I will freely admit that, when I first opened the story, I was intimidated by the idea of reading an almost 10K word fic in second person. In fact, I have a hard time making myself read a 1K word fic in second person, as it is probably my least favourite perspective. That being said, as I was chatting with Elené pretty much the entire time she was betaing this story, I was on the front lines of how much she completely raved about this story. Now, I didn’t know it was in second person, but that thought didn’t leave me as I told myself, “You can do this.”
I don’t think I’ve read any of your stuff before, so I was a bit…unsure about delving into second person of this magnitude, but I am so very glad I did. Your power to evoke emotional responses with what you write is so good that it’s almost orgasmic. I mean, you expect this sort of thing from non-fiction writing about people who saved the world with a ball of string and a prayer or something like that; but you did it telling the story of someone who was in a void throughout much of his life. That brings me to the conclusion of: holy crap, you’re good.
That’s all from me. This story was brilliant and a half, and I will endeavour to remember this far down the line when it comes time to nominate for next year’s QSQs, because this story is completely capable of winning one. Thanks for making it this far, and I hope my air raid bombing of ‘squee’ didn’t send you ducking under a couch somewhere…I hear there’s a hippogriff under there that will peck at your face. :D
Take care and happy writing,
P.S. — Go Eagles!
Author's Response: I too adore minor characters and stories focused around them. It just feels that Harry, Ron, Hermione and people like them have already had their stories told, and I love writing the untold stories. I would love to hear your opinions on Theo and Lisa, and I'm glad you enjoyed my characterization of them so well. About the order of the memories. I have a tendency to be a bit of a rebel when it comes to writing rules (well that ones that aren't about grammar and Mary-Sues and such -- I'm a big supporter of them). So though I know flashbacks are supposed to go in order, I ignored it. Not just because of the impact on the story but because I don't believe that's the way PEOPLE think of memories.People's minds are always filled with random thoughts and strange emotions and memories that generally don't follow a proper timeline. People are messy; sometimes writing should be too. (I hope that made sense, lol. But it probably didn't.) Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, hm? I never really gave much thought to her before I chose to put her into this story. I chose her because all we knew about her was that she was a Ravenclaw. And I liked the idea of placing Theodore with someone smart, as honestly I don't think he would have patience or be captivated by someone who was less intelligent, like he was with her. Her personality stemmed from wanting to avoid as many cliches as possible. As you said, the fiery Gryffindor. It seems that the only girls with any real romance were these girls. (Lily, Ginny, even Hermione). It would say these are the typical girls you see in most romance books, even outside of Harry Potter and especially in the fanfiction world. Maybe it's just me, but I get tired of those sort of characters. Not to mention I avoid cliches at all cost. I wanted Lisa to be kind and non-overbearing, and very very smart, if a bit shy. Theodore being the hesitant person he is would be able to be drawn to her, without being intimidated like he would have with a fiery Gryffindor. Besides, her character wasn't too difficult for me to create. She sort of just stepped onto the page and said, "This is who I am; write me" while twirling that piece of hair. It seems most of the characters I work with do that, and I do my best to stay out of their way. Concerning Nott Sr, I agree with absolutely everything you said. If it hadn't been for him and the pressure he placed upon Theodore, can you imagine what Theodore might have become? I say in the story Theodore had his choice, and he did, but he would never have been forced into such a horrible decision if it hadn't been for his father. As for my personal canon, I know in this story I left it where he didn't die, and though it would be sweet justice if he was killed or at least thrown into Azkaban (though even that would be too merciful for the likes of him) I'm not the sort of person who believes in happy endings. As you might tell in the way this story ended, with so much death (though Theo did find the peace he couldn't have in life in the next). I don't believe evil is ever completely vanquished. Theodore Sr. deserves to die, but too often true evil gets away, wearing its mask of sheep's clothing. And Theodore was indeed that wolf. But one day, I'm sure he got his just reward. Maybe not at that battle or in his life, but certainly in the next. Can you imagine? Him seeing his wife and son and that "Mudblood" all living happily, while he is left a broken and withering soul and is taken to a place where there is no mercy for the wicked, and no mask that can save him. And THAT would be much sweeter vengeance. As for Evelyn being the voice, I just couldn't have it being Theodore's conscience. It would seem out of character for him, seeing as he silenced his conscience for so long, but he could never silence his mother, whispering to him from the other side where she waited for him. Yes, she did indeed love him, and I'm glad you picked up the person she was and I wanted her to be. And you're perfectly right that Theodore learned his strength from his mother. Theodore wasn't his father's son; he was his mother's through and through. About second person. I think this and the tiny drabble it started is the only thing I've written in second perspective, but I like testing myself and trying new styles. I realize it is the least common, and I probably would have run the other way if I had seen so long of a fic written like this. But I'm so glad you didn't. And Elene had high praise for me, certainly, but I had no idea she was raving about it. I'm truly flattered. Really. By her and by everything you've said. Really I cannot say thank you enough for all your wonderful compliments. I am certainly not hiding under the couch by your squee, though I'm sure it would be a nice place. I personally would have loved a stuffed animal like Feathers. Thank you again. So very much. Happy writing to you as well, fellow Claw! Chante'
Great fic! I was really impressed by your depiction of Theodore, it was really insightful and interesting, especially your ideas about masks and how he became a mirror. I liked the way it jumped between past and present, and nicely summed up everything. I think a couple of times you wrote 'anyways' instead of 'anyway', which ruined the flow a little for me. That's a really small criticism though, otherwise it was fantastic!
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked it, especially my characterization of Theodore. I apologize for my anyways thing. Unfortunately, that's the way I say it so I forget it's not the proper way. I'm glad you liked it anyways though.
That was really beautifully written. All characterization was amazing and there were so many excellent moments. The plot was very good; not to complicated, but moving nonetheless.
Author's Response: Thank you very much!